Take the 2-minute tour ×
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm doing some translations of New Practical Chinese Reader 2. In lesson 17, there's a dialog between two people, and 不客气 appears as a reply to compliments rather than someone saying 谢谢。Is it supposed to be some kind of joke? I have left it as "don't be polite" in my translation for now.

Thanks in advance.

enter image description here

share|improve this question
2  
It is something like saying "you are welcome" in English. –  Question Overflow Dec 31 '13 at 5:44
    
好奇怪啊 一般我们不这么说 不客气 (⊙o⊙)… 还是我的中文下降了? 嘿嘿 但是我是中国人啊 –  Hasoffer Dec 31 '13 at 8:05
add comment

7 Answers 7

up vote 7 down vote accepted

不客气 is a polite way of acknowledging someone's compliment or thanks. Although it literally translates to "don't be polite", once you consider some equivalent phrases, it's meaning becomes clear.

Equivalents in Chinese:

  • 不用谢 - (no need to thank [me])
  • 别客气

Equivalents in English:

  • You're too kind
  • Don't mention it
  • Not at all
share|improve this answer
    
I guess "You're too kind" works for the purpose of this joke. I will mark this as the answer. –  pg-robban Dec 31 '13 at 10:16
add comment

It's a way we express humbleness. so the 不客气 is equivalent to "I'm flattered"

share|improve this answer
    
Makes sense, I guess then the joke works in English as well. But why don't the authors use 哪里 instead? –  pg-robban Dec 30 '13 at 17:35
    
This is wrong. "I'm flattered" is 过奖了. –  Question Overflow Dec 31 '13 at 5:20
    
@QuestionOverflow I feel the translation is kind of difficult. If translate it as usual, like congusbongus's answer, it doesn't sound like a joke (doesn't it?) Let alone some phrases with a double meaning. –  Stan Dec 31 '13 at 5:46
    
@Stan, the joke has nothing to do with how you would translate a phrase. In fact, 不客气 can all be replaced with 过奖了 or 谢谢 without affecting the crosstalk at all. –  Question Overflow Dec 31 '13 at 6:22
add comment

I don't think those "不客气" are of proper usage in daily life.

Since it is from a cross-talking (相声), I think the author of this 相声 is trying to be sarcastic [otherwise, it would not be funny]: some people pretend to be humble and polite but in their heart they are actually very arrogant.

Think of someone who is complimented says "You're welcome" instead of "Thank you" or "I am flattered". Same story.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I don't think the accepted answer is approriate given the circumstance of conversation. 这个相声里的“不客气”,是“过奖”的意思:“您过奖了”,或者“不敢当”,something like "You flatter me." 所以到最后一句,就抖出包袱了:说他表快一个小时,仍用了"You flattered me." 显然不合适。

share|improve this answer
    
I would like to know the reason for the downvotes. And I would also like to know the reason why all of my answers get downvotes within only 20 seconds. –  lenonya Jan 12 at 6:20
    
Hi lenonya, so far you haven't received too many downvotes, so don't worry too much. We try to maintain a high quality on the site and people downvote in order to maintain that quality. We expect answers to be correctly formatted and easy to be read by English speakers. Your answer above is hard to read due to formatting and being partly in English and partly in Chinese. Have a look at how some of the other answers are written to get an idea of good formatting. The same applies to your first answer which was written entirely in Chinese. Thanks for your answers and I hope you stick around. –  xiaohouzi79 Jan 16 at 22:34
add comment

I think "don't mention it" would be the best here.

Generally "no worries" works too.

share|improve this answer
add comment

My money is on: 别客气 in the 5th line should be "Oh, you're just being polite". In subsequent lines it might be "No, no, no". But the use of 不客气 in succession like this sounds weird.

share|improve this answer
add comment

When you are offered something (food, drink, etc.) it's a way to express "Make yourself at home/Help yourself/etc".

share|improve this answer
1  
While that is true, this should probably be a comment and not an answer. –  AMorrise Jan 7 at 21:30
1  
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. –  deutschZuid Jul 3 at 2:48
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.